Although the pandemic slowed us down, we have always been keen to travel with our children, go explore the outdoors and have adventures as a family. We travelled before our children were born and we are keen to show the boys as much of the world as we can.
I’ve written before about our trip to America when my eldest was a baby and we had been keen to do that with my youngest, but he was born in 2020 so covid put a stop to that. With my eldest starting school in September we were keen for one last big long haul trip before being tied to holidays out of term time. When I told people our plans I was quite taken aback by their response “aren’t you worried about the flight” “why bother with long haul when they are little” “what’s the point; they won’t remember” and even when we returned, most people concentrated on how we coped with the flight rather than the adventures we had.
Maybe we were lucky, maybe it won’t be like this next time but we loved our trip. We have been back a month now and both my children keep asking about when we can go back to St Lucia, when are we going on a plane and talking about their favourite bits of where we stayed.
So how was the flight (because I’m sure you want to know)? I’m pretty strict with screen time so maybe this helped. My kids were pretty excited when I said they could watch tv. I had snacks on tap and we had a lot of activities to keep them entertained… stickers, colouring, play dough, water magic painting and more. Of course there were a few tears but nothing a little cuddle and a walk around the plane didn’t stop. On our return journey they found it difficult to sleep but we managed it and they did great.
I think the biggest thing for me was the assumption that we shouldn’t have the trip because they wouldn’t remember it. I think my eldest will remember some of the trip, but we will remember the trip. We will remember the first “wow” from my youngest as we entered the rainforest and travelled miles into the sky on the gondola, we will remember the awestruck look on my eldest’s face when we took them to the marine reserve and they “snorkelled” and he told me he wanted to be there forever, we will remember our sons confidence in the pool coming on leaps and bounds. I will remember the sound of laughter as we spent late nights together playing and early mornings on the beach and being the first ones on what seemed to be our private beach. Yes, they won’t remember it all but I will.
What I will admit is our trips have changed, less late night cocktail beach bars and more early beach trips, we have found that we can still explore and have our adventures with our two enjoying it, it just means we have had to modify things a little. Maybe we haven’t done two huge things in a day, maybe one trip, but we still ventured on a cataraman, took them to volcanic baths, took them in waterfalls. It’s also not to say that it was all plain sailing. On some days we had upset, brother fighting, constant snack demands but you know what, we would have had that anywhere, even at home, so why would we want to miss out on family hikes and beach exploring and still be dealing with the same thing?
For us, it was a once in a lifetime trip. We went all out, staying where we wanted to and seeing the things we wanted to see. We budgeted and left ourselves with 26p in our holiday savings account. Was it worth it?! Absolutely, yes. Would we do it again? In a heart beat.
So, if you’re thinking about travelling with your children, however little, my advice is go for it. In our experience, you won’t regret it.